How Much Does Maaco Charge to Paint a Car? – The Answer

Car Painting

A simple “scrape and spray,” as my Dad used to call it, would start at around $300. But you “get what you pay for,” he would say. The price goes up from there, depending on the time and materials used to paint the car properly. 

My Dad owned a body shop in south Oklahoma City when I was growing up in the late 70s – early 80s. His first name was emblazoned on the front of the shop, “Don’s Collision Repair.” He was proud of his business and the work done by the men that worked for him. He had one of the nicest paint booths in town. 

If I had a dollar for every disgruntled customer, he got from a $300 “Maaco Massacre,” well, I would be writing this article from my yacht, parked on a beach in Fiji. But the general public didn’t know any better. I mean, that catchy jingle ensnared many an unsuspecting car owner. 

Does this sound familiar, “Uh-oh, better get Maaco?” How about this, “Maacover?” These are both brand slogans for Macco, with the latter being the current. Macco is an auto paint and collision repair franchising corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company was founded in 1972 by Anthony A. Martino, who opened the first Maaco Center in Wilmington, Delaware. 

How Much Does a Maaco Paint Job Cost?

car paint cost

How much Maaco will charge for painting your car depends on various factors, including the choice of paint package, how much prep your car needs, whether you want a color change and other factors. Basic paint jobs have always started around $300 when the only prep work is a light total-body sanding. If you aren’t painting a car for a smashup-derby, then you’ll need to go in for an estimate because there will be a need for more than just a little sandpaper. 

For this reason, estimates are not given over the phone or via email, even if there are pictures attached. Instead, visit your local Maaco body shop in person to get an estimate. 

Estimates are 100% free, and you do not need to make an appointment beforehand. However, to avoid any possible wait times, you can schedule one online or by calling the shop. Now, the price you end up paying for the paint job could be higher than the estimate. Why? Hidden damage, although extremely uncommon, may be discovered during the repair and repainting process.

Now, there are times when a $300 paint job may sound pretty tempting. You may choose to overlook the surface damage and only pay for getting the car repainted. But keep in mind, to get the smoothest finish and highest gloss possible, recommended repairs must be made. You will still receive a warranty if you choose to paint over scratches and dents. However, failing to address the repairs the estimator advised you to fix will void the warranty.

Maaco Store Locations

Maaco center

In the 47 years that Maaco has been in business, it has serviced over 20 million vehicles. The company’s operations have also grown considerably, having more than 500 centers throughout the United States and Canada to date. The countries have two separate websites, for the USA and for Canada. To find the nearest Maaco, visit your country-specific website.

Maaco’s Maacover 

A complete Maacover involves the following:

Body repair

Maaco’s body repair technicians begin your vehicle’s makeover by eliminating any small dents and unsightly scratches. This 5-step process ensures your car has a perfectly smooth finish. These are the steps:

  • Grinding to remove all of the paint from the affected area
  • Working the damaged body to restore it to its original shape
  • Applying a mixture of filler and hardener to smooth out unlevel surfaces
  • Sanding and glazing the repair area, which determines if a second or even third coat of filler is applied
  • Resanding once the filler dries followed by the application of a pro-grade sealant

Surface preparation


If the chips and scratches on your vehicle are left untreated and exposed to the elements, they are likely to damage the car’s paint job over time. That is where surface repair comes in. Having such issues repaired helps achieve the smoothest finish and highest gloss possible. 

Maaco’s estimators inspect your car and recommend surface repairs. Their most basic light chip and scratch repair option removes most chips and scratches brought on by normal wear and tear. Deeper scratches and chips may call for the excessive chip and scratch repair option, which includes extra sanding and a Bondo filler.

Additionally, for conditions such as cracking, peeling, or delaminating, Maaco recommends paint removal. If you go for this option, your car is stripped down to the bare metal and repainted. Minor surface repairs are completed before a paint job can ensure a long-lasting shine.

Surface sealant

If old paint mixes with the new layer of paint following a paint job, it may cause discoloration and affect the car’s shine. Sealants act as a barrier between these two paints, ensuring the painted surface has a consistent color and high gloss. Sealants and an even primer layer also provide paint durability, which helps maintain the shine. Maaco offers these three grades of sealants:

Basic: sealants in this category are best for cars that require low prep work.

Preferred: uses urethane to provide greater durability to the paint finish.

Premium: is a urethane-based mixture that attaches to the bare metal. This grade is the best choice for vehicles that require extra prep work.

Painting services


Do you love the car you drive but hate how it looks? A Maacover might be just what it needs to give it that fresh finish. Having your car repainted also gives it a color/shade of your choosing, increases its resale value, prevents rust from forming, fixes chipped paint, et cetera. Maaco offers three paint packages:

Basic: a single-stage enamel paint is applied, giving your car an attractive gloss and exact color match. The service comes with a one-year warranty.

Preferred: this paint job targets those looking for more durability but at a pocket-friendly price. It is a single-stage application approach that uses urethane paint, which is chip-resistant and considerably more durable than enamel paint. The package includes a three-year warranty.

Premium: it is a two-stage paint service that offers the highest level of durability, best glossy finish possible, superb color match, and a five-year warranty.

So what is meant by a single-stage paint and a two-stage paint? A single-stage paint job involves painting over a primer and buffing, that is it! There is usually no need to apply a clear coat since the paint contains all the necessary chemicals for a glossy finish. Many classic cars have this type of paint as clear coats only emerged in the 1980s. They are, therefore, often repainted in this manner to achieve the right look from that era. 

On the other hand, during a two-stage paint job, a base coat is first applied after the primer coat for the color. A clear coat is then applied over the paint to protect it and give it a glossy finish. Dual-stage paints are more durable and stand up better to the elements than single-stage paints. They are, however, more expensive and take longer to apply.

Proper car care

Car care

The last Maacover step is proper car care. Proper maintenance can go a long way in ensuring a long-lasting paint job. Maaco recommends:

  • Parking in the shade, but avoid parking under trees
  • Avoiding driving on sand or loose gravel
  • Washing your car regularly

Speaking of washing, this is a great way to remove any foreign substances, such as asphalt, tree sap, bird droppings, bugs, or mud that may damage your car’s paint. It is advisable to hand wash your car twice a month. Use a mild car wash soap and a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching off the wax or sealant protection away from the clear coat. Remember to rinse the undercarriage of your car as well to remove dirt, salt, or other chemicals that could cause rust or corrosion.

Plus, 4-6 weeks following a paint job, Maaco recommends waxing your car every 3-4 months to protect the new finish from environmental factors such as damaging UV rays, soil, acid rain, and other elements. Ensure to use a car wax that does not contain cleaning agents like silicone.

Apply a thin coat of wax in circular motions to the entire car using the provided applicator. Let the wax fully dry before removing it. Apply firm pressure and wipe it off with a clean, dry microfiber cloth in the same circular motion. If you allow the wax to sit for too long, it may become hard to remove. I have made that mistake more than once. 

Maaco Additional Services

Besides auto painting, Maaco offers a range of other services including:

Cosmetic car repairs. Maaco categorizes repairs as either Class A or Elective repairs. Class A repairs involve making an insurance claim with your insurance company whereas, elective repairs are those paid out of pocket.

Direct Repair Program (DRP). The company works with every major insurance company to provide fast, quality service and to keep repairs affordable.

Fleet services. Maaco offers various fleet vehicle services, including remarketing, rebranding, and accident management. Their clients include car rental companies, public agencies, telecommunications providers, food and or beverage companies, and manufacturers.

Non-automotive industrial services. Airline carriers, waste management companies, hotels and resorts, amusement parks, equipment rentals, and many other industries can also receive Maacover services. These services may include the repairing of furniture, rental equipment, stop lights, gas pump covers, trash cans, and golf carts.

Lease turn-in repairs. Maaco will maximize the value of your leased car by repairing any damage before it is turned in. These repairs also save you outrageous repair fees by the dealership.

Spray bed lining. Maaco’s technicians spray the bed of your pickup truck with spray-on/in bed liner that protects it from sun, rain, snow, sand, chemicals, and corrosion.

Note: Not all services are available in every location. Find your local shop and call to confirm their service details.


All kidding aside, Maaco does excellent work and has earned its place in the automotive industry. With their extensive service lines of repairs and services, there are a lot of companies that benefit from having a Maaco service center in their area. 

Maaco paint jobs generally take 2-3 business days. If your car requires significant bodywork, replacement parts, or extra preparation to repair existing damage, it could take a while longer. Just do Dad and me a favor and pay a little extra for the better paint job. The folks sitting in the car next to you will be grateful.

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